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China reels from heat wave

August 5, 2013

Beginning in July, much of China found itself in the grip of a massive heat wave - one worse than many regions of the country have ever experienced. Throughout the southern and eastern portions of the nation, temperatures stand at around 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher in various counties and cities. No end is expected for the extreme weather until halfway through August, according to The Associated Press. The event is likely cause for significant discussion among those in China contacting friends and relatives using prepaid phone cards.

The news source reported that Fenghua, a city in the east, experienced the wave's highest temperature recorded on July 24, 108.9 degrees Fahrenheit. Shanghai hit 105 degrees two days later. Both of these are record highs for the cities. In these locations and others, people are using pavement and manhole covers as impromptu hot plates - placing skillets atop them to cook eggs, shrimp and other foods. The heat has caused glass to crack and billboards and highways to spontaneously combust. 

He Jiali, a 17-year-old student from Shanghai, told the news source that she thought of her cellphone as a "grenade" due to the heat. "I'm so worried that the phone will explode while I'm using it," she said.

A separate AP report from Aug. 5 found that the heat even affected a high-tension sociopolitical protest. Sidewalk vendors had carried a man through the streets of Wuhan on a gurney, claiming that he'd been beaten to death by the chengguan - city management workers - during a dispute. However, the purported dead man sprang up from under his sheet, crying out that he could not continue due to the heat.

While the alleged tactics of the chengguan have led to public outrage, the outcome of the attempted Wuhan protest could undermine their standing.

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